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When I started writing this blog 8 years ago, the blog that for so long existed for me to moan about my pregnancy piles and constant craving to chew on flannels, I had no idea it would one day become my job.
I so clearly remember the day I started it. I’d found out I was pregnant with Elfie 24 hours before, having only peed on a pregnancy test because I was off work with the flu and bored of the TV, and in amongst my panic one of the first things I wanted to do was to connect to other women going through a similar experience.
I need to connect and resonate with women, women like me whose lives aren’t perfect
At 24 the only mother I knew was my own, and having gone through my teenage years with the wisdom of LiveJournal friends pulling me through the most hormonal of times (and there were lots of them), I knew I needed similar community-based knowledge and support once more. And so I started an anonymous blog, calling it ‘Womb With A View’ because at that point more than ever I felt like I needed a LOL wherever I could get one, and began building my support network. The blog soon morphed into More Than Toast – so named because I was freaking sick of eating nothing but toast as the mother of a newborn – and we have remained ever since.
More Than Toast became my full-time job last summer, a decision I made because I wanted to focus more on my writing and creativity over corporate gigs, and having recently started a relationship it felt important to spend my free time focussing on that rather than slaving over a steaming laptop. To say the least it’s been an interesting transition from Marketing Consultant to full-time blogger, and has not been the breeze I expected it to be.
Making your hobby your career is one thing you’re always advised to do by those inspirational Pinterest boards, but turning something you’ve always loved to do for free into a money-making success is a particularly intimidating thing. I suddenly started second-guessing everything I was writing about, worrying that my mind-blurting posts (the ones I love to write) weren’t good enough to be read by people who visited to read a ‘professional’ blog.
I also experienced some trolling last year and the criticism really set me back; I’ve always been so proud of writing about my life experiences and the way this helps others feel a little less lonely on their own life journeys, and suddenly between my own self-judgement and that of others I felt moderated and stifled, unable to put fingers to keyboard in a way I always have so enjoyed.
The blogger life has also felt quite lonely – the days at my computer without meetings with real-life 3D people can feel long – and I’ve missed my clients and the dynamic nature of the business world. Plus, as my blog is about my experiences, I’ve felt a weird pressure to always make sure I am Living My Best Life, millennial-style. Not always possible when you’ve been up all night with a vomiting child and the only places you want to put your head are either in the oven or inside a massive cheesecake, neither of which are particularly ‘grammable.
I want to write and be creative. And that’s what I’m going to do, trolls, self-doubt and critics be damned.
Which is why, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been re-thinking the direction I’m taking my blog. I wanted to take something of an unofficial hiatus to re-focus myself and remember exactly why I started it and why I love it, and that became really clear, really quickly: I need to connect and resonate with women, women like me whose lives aren’t perfect. I want to make people laugh and be a crack of sunshine in what might otherwise be a bit of a shitty day. I want to make a mark – no matter how small – in this world that can quite often feel like it’s going down the pan. I want to write and be creative. And that’s what I’m going to do, trolls, self-doubt and critics be damned.
The first step of the re-invigoration of More Than Toast is what you can see here: the first re-design I’ve done in two years. This has been my own handiwork with the logo c/o the creative stylings of Lydia Berman, and I am as proud of it as the old layouts I used to make for my LiveJournal from scans of Kerrang! and a bootleg copy of Paint Shop Pro.
The second step is a store that will sell a range of female-focussed products that I have been working on with Steph of Flat 102.
The third step is in-person one-day blogging courses with Epanoui in Bedford, followed by e-courses right here at More Than Toast.
The fourth step is something absolutely massive, which I am not allowed to talk about yet because I signed a contract promising I wouldn’t (it’s SO worth the wait and the wanky ‘I can’t talk about this’ statement, though!).
I’m so excited to be falling back in love with this place I love so much, and I thank you hugely for coming along for the ride – More Than Toast wouldn’t be here without you, and I wouldn’t be living a career I love so much if it wasn’t for my readers, visitors and friends. And that is something I feel thankful for every single day. I’m so excited to return to a place where I feel I can open-heartedly write about my family, my love and my life
SO! My mailing list is open and will be the place where notification of all these exciting happenings will go – you can sign up for these in the right hand box on the homepage (bottom box if you’re on mobile).
Thank-you for being here! I can’t wait to show you what’s next.